You get into bed, pull the duvet up to your chin, make sure you’re nice and comfy and then you notice your eyes are slowly closing… next thing you realise is that it’s the next day. How did that happen? Or should I say, what just happened? A lot more than one would ever think is the answer.
Sleep is a biological rhythm which is actively generated by the brain, or put another way, sleep is a lot more complex than just passing out. Our brain is responsible for inducing sleep, and it does this following a 24 hour cycle which we call circadian rhythm and which we will talk about in another article.
Let’s go back to the very comfy moment when we’ve just closed our eyes, little do we know that we’re about to embark on a journey which will take us through four different stages of brain, ocular and muscular activity, the four stages of sleep. When we first fall asleep we enter Stage 1 or dozing off stage. During this stage, brain activity decreases slightly but we can still be easily awoken. If left undisturbed, in as little as one to five minutes, we will leave Stage 1 for good and pass into Stage 2 of sleep.
This second stage is characterised by slower brain activity, greater muscle relaxation and decreased eye movements. Our body temperature also drops and both our breathing and heart rate are reduced. It is more difficult to be awoken in this second stage of sleep. After 10 to 25 minutes we pass into deep sleep or Stage 3. During this stage it is most difficult to be woken as we’re in the deepest state of relaxation. If we are woken, however, we would probably feel disoriented for a few minutes. This stage is mainly attributed to body restoration.
Stage 4 or REM sleep is an interesting stage. REM stands for rapid eye movement and as the name suggests, during this stage, our eyes move about quickly. Although we’re still asleep our brain activity is similar to when we’re awake, which probably explains why most dreams occur during REM sleep. Our muscles, on the other hand, are temporarily paralysed, which helps us to not act out our dreams. REM sleep is attributed to organising memory.
Once we have journeyed through these four sleep stages, which by the way has taken us approximately 90 minutes, well… we start all over again, perhaps starting directly at Stage 2. We complete a total of 4 to 6 cycles of sleep on a good night and what better way of doing so than on a Jensen Bed.